Energy networks

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Ofgem is consulting on proposals for the Future System Operator to become a “central network planner” as part of its joint review of offshore electricity transmission with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The regulator had already suggested this as one of its key roles and responsibilities when outlining its intentions for the Future System Operator – a fully independent system operator for electricity and gas – in an earlier consultation in June.
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Ofgem has given preliminary approval to two high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission links connecting England and Scotland. The subsea cables – the first two in a series of four such connections proposed along the east coast of Britain – will each have a capacity of 2GW.
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Ofgem has announced its intention to hold a significant code review (SCR) dedicated to forward-looking Distribution Use of System (DUoS) charges. They were already being examined by the regulator as part of an ongoing SCR looking at forward-looking network charges and access arrangements across both transmission and distribution that was launched in December 2018.
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Featured

Digital transformation and collaboration will be two of the key drivers for the utilities sector if it is to achieve its potential as an enabler of the net-zero journey. But how do we break down silos, upgrade analogue skills for a digital age and convince customers that their data is safe with utilities? A new report by Utility Week, in association with Amazon Web Services, seeks answers to these timely questions.
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As lifeline service providers, utilities must be resilient to a wide variety of threats, including so-called ‘black swan events’ – those for which there are no precedents. Jay Cadman, of IQGeo looks at how to create robust risk management strategies in the face of uncertainty.
Opinion
Following the publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy, Steve Atkins, DSO transition lead on the Energy Network Association’s Open Networks programme, offers an overview of the project’s progress thus far.
Comment

Latest in Energy networks

SP Energy Networks (SPEN) is offering an additional refund of £150 to the around 8,000 domestic customers in its license areas that have been left without power for more than 48 hours following Storm Arwen. The distribution network operator said the amount is more than the average annual cost of its services and will be paid to eligible households by the end of this year.
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MPs have criticised distribution network operators for poor communication with customers suffering from power outages as a result of Storm Arwen, including providing inaccurate reconnection times. Speaking during an emergency debate in the House of Commons, business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it is “clearly unacceptable” that some customers had to wait for up to two hours to get through to call centres over the weekend.
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The final milestone has been cleared in the funding of the £9 billion Dogger Bank wind farm. SSE and Equinor announced they have reached financial close on Dogger Bank C, the third phase of the 3.6GW project. Taken in aggregate with the first two phases, this is now the largest offshore wind financing anywhere in the world.
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National Grid’s head of digital transformation and innovation strategy, Carolina Tortora, deconstructs the ESO’s new energy system replica and explores how digital twin technology has helped drive both the Covid vaccine rollout and Mercedes’ recent success in Formula One.
Analysis
Some homes will remain without power until at least Friday following the widespread damage to the electricity network during Storm Arwen. The Energy Networks Associations said engineers have been undertaking repairs at around 4,500 individual sites after strong winds, falling trees and airborne debris downed overhead power lines and inflicted damage to substations.
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Pressure is mounting for energy and water companies to break down barriers to the visibility and use of data across organisational functions, company divides and sector borders. But do technology and business leaders in utilities buy into this ambition and how hard will it be for them to achieve? Download this Utility Week insight report to find out.
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What can utilities learn from their experience of mobilising for rapid decarbonisation to drive greater pace and ambition in other areas of business transformation? A unique research report from Utility Week reveals the views of senior industry leaders on the potential for lessons to be leveraged and where.
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Can we rely on distributed energy resources to provide restoration services for our future energy system in times of need? Download this Utility Week report to discover the state of play as the landmark Distributed ReStart project from National Grid ESO, SP Energy Networks and TNEI draws to a close.
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The electricity transmission arms of National Grid and SP Energy Networks (SPEN) have agreed to pay £158 million in redress for a two-year delay to the £1.2 billion Western Link project – a subsea power line connecting Scotland and Wales. Ofgem said the delay to the 2,250MW high voltage direct current link prevented renewable generators in Scotland from exporting electricity to England and Wales when the transmission network was congested, raising costs for consumers.
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Energy networks have urged the thousands of households still without power following Storm Arwen to seek alternative accommodation if possible, warning that some individual homes or groups houses may not be reconnected until after Tuesday due to localised faults. The Energy Networks Association said supplies had been restored to over 90% of affected customers by 5pm on Monday evening (29 November) but more than 66,000 remained disconnected as engineers battled the elements to repair severe damage to overhead power lines.  
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